Well, we finally saw another team win a Grand Prix. Now the F1 championship heads to Silverstone (and will continue to do so after a new five-year contract was signed) and Mercedes look to get back to winning ways.
Drivers – 197 Lewis Hamilton 166 – Valtteri Bottas 126 – Max Verstappen 123 – Sebastian Vettel 105 – Charles Leclerc
Constructors – 363 – Mercedes 228 – Ferrari 169 – Red Bull
There was a surprising result in the first practice session as Red Bull posted the fastest time. Even more surprising, it was Pierre Gasly not Max Verstappen who was fastest. It wasn’t a narrow margin either with a 0.476 seconds advantage over Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes driver had been ahead of the field but Gasly pipped him with just minutes remaining of the session.
Max Verstappen was third fastest (0.832 seconds behind his team-mate) with Lewis Hamilton in fourth. The fastest of the Ferrari drivers was Charles Leclerc who was just ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Leclerc was 1.08 seconds off the pace.
Renault filled sixth and seventh with Nico Hulkenberg ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. The latter was seen playing cricket on the track but it’s too late for Australian World Cup hopes. The top ten was completed by the Toro Rosso of Alexander Albon, ahead of the two McLaren’s of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.
It wasn’t a great session for Haas’ Romain Grosjean who was one of several drivers who made mistakes. Grosjean didn’t crash on the track but in the pit lane followed by a spin. The French driver had spent the week having talks with his team bosses. He’d persuading them to let him try his Haas in the specification it had for the opening race of the season. Having too much throttle on caused his problems.
Another driver having problems was Kimi Raikkonen. He smashed the front wing of his Alfa Romeo after spinning into the inside wall. 40 minutes were spent in the pits and on his return to the track, he had another spin (this time at Brooklands) and could only finish 19th fastest. He even ended up being pushed back to the pits, so it was a session to forget.
It was back to normal in the afternoon as Valtteri Bottas finished fastest ahead of Lewis Hamilton. There was only 0.069 seconds between the pair. Ferrari took third with Charles Leclerc who was 0.197 seconds behind Bottas. He was 0.251 seconds ahead of Vettel in fourth. It was another good session for Gasly who finished fifth with Lando Norris in sixth.
It wasn’t such an enjoyable time for Max Verstappen. He could only finish seventh fastest. He’d have been expecting better times when on soft tyres and low fuel. The other McLaren of Carlos Sainz was eighth with Alexander Albon in ninth and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in tenth.
Daniel Ricciardo probably wished he’s stuck to cricket. His Renault stopped halfway through the session after encountering engine problems. Ricciardo could only finish 14th fastest.
Bottas was the smoothest of the two Mercedes on Friday. Hamilton made a few errors including going off at the fast Becketts sweeps. As is often the case though, he still managed one quick lap. Knowing him, that’s just what he’ll do in qualifying tomorrow. Mercedes will want to bounce back after not winning in Austria. The times are looking good for them on the long runs with around half a second in hand of Red Bull.